Confession time: I was a very late adopter/fan of the Fallout series. I knew it was the spiritual successor of Wasteland, a game I actually liked but never really played because I was more into more action-type games at the time it was released and not into RPGs. I never played the first “real” Fallout games until much later. I just couldn’t get into the games because the combat system felt clunky and I immediately got lost during my first playthrough. I became a fan of the series during Fallout 3 and even then, the only reason why I got it was because it was heavily discounted for the PS3 at my local video game boutique. But after playing Fallout 3, even the incredibly buggy and awkward PS3 version of the game, I fell in love with everything about it. I loved how Bethesda revamped the entire game system to be in first-person and how you can switch from playing it like a traditional shooter or a more tactical battle system with the VATS system. But what really got to me was the story and how beautifully crafted it was and how you can do different things that will sort of influence how the NPC would see you.
I have since gotten every Fallout game on PC, from the first Fallout (which I still have trouble playing, by the way) to Fallout 4, which I just had to pre-order because I was incredibly excited for it. While I will say Fallout 4 was kind of disappointing after the incredibly Fallout New Vegas, I still enjoyed it to bits. It took me more than a year to finish it. Not because I couldn’t because of how hard it was. Rather, I got caught up with all the activities you can do in the game, like rebuild settlements, take on side missions, download different official and unofficial mods and crafting a whole bunch of stuff. When I finally got to finishing the game (by siding with the Minutemen, by the way), I was at Level 70! Pretty good for a game that consider to be a “disappointment.”
So, when Bethesda even hinted that they were going to release a new Fallout before E3, you can bet my interest was piqued. But, ever since the game, entitled Fallout 76, was announced and Todd Howard started revealing more and more details were revealed, my excitement slowly started to diminish. I still think it’s going to be a good game because of the way they’re hyping it up. And I am intrigued by the idea that this will be the first game in the series timeline-wise. But, right now, I’m more on the side of “wait and see” rather than getting it on Day 1. That’s because, well, Fallout 76 doesn’t seem like the Fallout series I fell in love with.
One concern I have with Fallout 76 is the change from making it a single player game to multiplayer. Todd Howard mentioned during E3 that this will be basically a MMORPG set in the Fallout universe, specifically a nuclear-irradiated version of West Virginia. While no real specifics have been given, the basic gist is that the Overseer of Vault 76 left you instructions to “reclaim” the area. More recent information tells that the Overseer gave you some secret instructions to follow as well, which will lead you to the main storyline of the game. While that’s all well and good, the idea that the game will be populated with numerous gamers from different parts of the world is off-putting to me as, well, I think of the Fallout series as a single player experience, not a multiplayer kind.
This may seem like a minor quibble as Bethesda has been trying to reassure players who have the same mindset as mine that Fallout 76 will still have a strong single player campaign. But what reassurance will I and others have that other players will cooperate? You know there are going to be the trolls that will be trying to spoil the fun for other people and I can definitely see some people camping out in the locations where the main questline will take place and just snipe at the hapless noobs that just want to complete the story. I can imagine so many disgruntled single player fans complaining if and when this happens.
Bethesda and Todd Howard are trying to put elements that will try to limit this. Damage to players that don’t want to fight back is reduced and the people who die do get a “revenge” perk. Also, the griefers that do persist in killing the hapless noobs will get a bounty placed on their heads. But what if we have a team/group/platoon of griefer working together? It’ll be hard to collect the bounty on a team of highly skilled trolls! Or what if the trolls just quit for the day and leave the server? How can you get your revenge or collect the bounty on them then? Or what if they just fast travel to different areas? There are still so many loopholes right now that I hope Bethesda can figure out.
The inability to add mods on the onset is also a bummer. As this is an online game, I totally understand Bethesda doesn’t want fans modding it like they could in Fallout 3 or even Skyrim. But, for me, modding is one of the things that really enhanced my Fallout experience. I mentioned earlier that I played Fallout 3 on the PS3 so I had no idea how to install a mod until I got my PC version of Fallout 4. And once I fell into the modding rabbit hole, I couldn’t nor did I want to climb out!
There are so many interesting mods that are available for Fallout 4! You can change the body proportions or even the faces, textures and clothing of your character and each and every person in the game! You can even add new followers and locations to the map! You could give yourself incredibly powerful weapons and armor that’ll break the game! But my favorite mods usually involve new story quests, where amateur programmers and coders actually put a lot of effort to tell a sweet little story that’s incredibly immersive to the Fallout experience! Yes, the base version of Fallout 4 may be a little boring but mods made it infinitely better!
It’s come to a point where I can’t even bear the thought of playing Fallout 4 without my mods! So, why would I want to play Fallout 76 if they won’t allow mods? Right now, Bethesda and Todd Howard are saying that they will allow modding in the future once they put up some private servers and all that. But when? When will I be able to put some of those sweet, homebrew mods on Fallout 76? It’s not a dealbreaker by any stretch of the imagination but it is something that’s holding me back from putting up my money and pre-ordering Fallout 76.
But the biggest problem I have is the idea that this will be an “always online” game. You just know Bethesda is going to have problems for the first week with the influx of people trying to log in on Day 1! You can bet they’ll have server trouble and fans will cry and moan about it… even though it’s to be expected. Also, as someone who lives in the Philippines, a country that doesn’t have really reliable Internet, I generally avoid online-only games because it’s hard to get my money’s worth. There are times when the stars align and I can get a good connection but that’s only if the servers are close. I’m not sure if they’ll be a server in my area that’ll be reliable enough for me to have a smooth enough experience.
I’m still not writing off Fallout 76. There’s probably going to be a lot of things that’ll make the game fun and, hey! It’s a new Fallout game! But I just don’t feel the excitement for it at the moment. I guess if the reviews are mostly positive and Bethesda does get their act together and make it easy for players who are in boondocks countries like the one I’m in, I’ll be willing to drop the caps to buy it. But, right now, I’m just waiting for the bombs to drop.
Are you excited for Fallout 76? Let me know in the comments section below!